Carp Fishing Bait Secrets of Choosing The Best Readymade Baits You Can Buy!

When you think about choosing new readymade carp baits where is the best place to start? With so many baits and choices, choosing is very confusing unless you have a much bigger picture, really understand baits and have had decades of experience. Fortunately for you I have written this revealing nine page article to help you choose the best carp baits for you!

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When you think about choosing new readymade carp baits where is the best place to start? With so many baits and choices, choosing is very confusing unless you have a much bigger picture, really understand baits and have had decades of experience. Fortunately for you I have written this revealing 9 page article to help you choose the best carp baits for you!

Buying carp baits is often the last thing on the list for a great number of anglers but it should be at the top of the list for many reasons because bait can make your name or lead to endless frustrations and disappointing session where promised expectations are not fulfilled!

You might expect that big bait companies are the only ones producing quality baits. But remember that in business and especially in the bait industry just as in other businesses, economies of scale provide massive advantages regarding the profitability of a company. For this reason bait companies do aim to get larger and more profitable pretty quickly. Competitive advantages of getting big include buying power and efficiency in production and the cutting of cuts of many kinds. But many bait companies sell a huge amount of bait but may appear smaller – however they choose to have big companies roll their baits for them – due to the advantages of economy of scale.

You might be looking for a good deal and put your faith in maybe Solar Club Mix or Mainline Cell for instance. But there are very many other choices just as good. Just because a bait company is less well known or because they have been established for less time does not necessarily mean that the quality of their baits ingredients additives and flavours etc are lower – far from it. The impacts of their chosen additives for instance could very well have the edge over those of some better-known companies.

Compared to the internationally-supplying big bait companies of today you could well consider that very well known bait companies of the past were small – Bait 78, Catchum, and various companies that specialised in selling sold the high protein pastes especially; including the highly effective Slyme baits of Duncan Kay but also the flavours for instance sold by Geoff Kemp may be argued to have been small companies.

These days the smaller bait companies get quite a bit of unwarranted negativity – but being a small company does not mean untrustworthy. At various points in time you might well have said that names like Rod Hutchinson, Premier and Mainline were small in terms of scale or production and turnover – but obviously this does not mean trust and confidence did not develop in anglers buying and using their readymade baits and ingredients.

You might think that small bait companies make crap baits – devoid of the quality of nutritional attraction and stimulation that you are looking for. But consider this; when Richworth brought out their freezer baits back around 1983 nobody could argue that against the most nutritional high protein baits of the day they certainly proved that highly-flavoured instant attractor baits caught fish.

In fact I found them even better if I made a solution that included the nutritional benefits and impacts of nutritional boilie base mixes either of my own design or readymade ones. I used these solutions in many ways – as bait soaks and dips, as bases for ground baits, in particle preparations, in soaking meat and marine baits and even foam baits in the early nineties.

In the early eighties I even soaked Richworth baits in them to great effect and this was even after the original highly flavoured readymade baits had effectively blown when catch results had slowed down considerably for other anglers using these baits. Applying these and many other kinds of unique bait soaks meant that my baits certainly offered far more nutritional attraction when fishing against the extremely potent marine and milk protein enzyme-active types of baits I was competing against on my local syndicate lake and certain others at that time.

Yes there are many things you can do to improve the impacts and prolong the lives of attractor style baits. However it might be noted that very many baits today are based around both instant attractor and longer-term nutritional value bait design concepts – as well as other concepts and approaches besides! I noticed decades ago when doing some bait testing for Rod Hutchinson that in some cases he was combining the impacts of instant highly flavoured type baits within very high quality nutritional bases. Attractor baits do not have to be semolina and soya flour, limestone powder and other cheap ingredients after all!

The fact is that even if you get a cheap low protein readymade bait – or have doubts regarding the effectiveness of your readymade baits there is a wealth of substances and approaches and methods that can turn such baits into winners against practically any other bait – if you get this kind of information and get creative. Doing this can easily top the best most popular baits on your water; this has been proven time and again!

It might surprise many people that often bait companies will combine their financial power in order to source larger quantities of highly expensive ingredients and additives etc.

A fact little known by many anglers on the bank is that the big companies are frequently tied up with very many of the same suppliers – or if they control supply of certain ingredients and additives into the UK (literally or in effect) then they supply other bait companies with ingredients and additives that they are using in their own baits. For example it might be noted that CC Moore is a supplier a huge number of bait companies in the UK and around the world.

Another interesting example of how bait companies are often connected very much behind the scenes. This means that many work symbiotically and not just competitively against each other. Just one public example is the sharing of the special additive that both the big company Nash Baits and the small but fast-growing company A Baits are using.

Certain flavours made for newer bait companies can be strikingly similar to certain discontinued flavours that were very popular in past decades. This is no exaggeration because the same flavour house is employed in making these popular custom made flavours are still being used today. Many flavour formulations may remain secrets of the flavorists involved in the production of flavours although they may well be working to a very specific brief given by a bait company.

For instance Phil at CW Baits has had unique flavours made which involved in one case for example, 5 different flavorists – each being an expert in a particular aspect of a flavours components profile and impact. Like I said; very many smaller bait companies seriously do their homework too and many seek a wide range of outstanding professional help. Some even get help in formulating their baits with help from some of the more well known bait maestros behind the scenes. Do not take it for granted that any bait company is static in what it does and the potential it has to develop.

Many carp anglers seem to develop a weird mental fixation for one brand of readymade bait. Brand loyalty is one thing, but to stick to one brand without hardly a clue about how those baits actually impact upon fish externally and internally – and then criticising other readymade brands is just not logical is it? I have met anglers who have sworn by their brand of bait – and then just because another bait – maybe homemade has out-fished them, then they change the brand they choose to use, just based on one such experience. That to me is a big problem with the readymade bait market; it is largely built upon blind faith of the buyer because so few anglers genuinely understand in depth how their readymade baits are designed and why such and such a bait differs from another in its effect and impacts on carp.

When speaking with a fellow angler on the bank last week I questioned him about his choice of readymade baits. I asked why he chose the formula of bait and brand of bait he was using. His very simple answer was that a group of guys on his lake had been catching fish on this bait so he found out what it was and bought some.

Now forgive me for stating the obvious, but if you are targeting a few big fish in a pressured water, the last thing you want to do is get on a bait that other anglers have already been fishing with. These guys might well hook (and even inadvertently lose) the few fish you are aiming to catch instead of or before you. What impact does this have on wary fish and where does this leave your chances of catching the fish you want – are your chances raised or in fact lowered considerably? It can be extremely costly to get onto a popular bait without thinking hard about the fact that the biggest advantage a bait has is if it is totally new to pre-programmed fish caution!

Dave Lane wrote in an article once that (as he was a bait-sponsored angler) he had been baiting very heavily with a readymade bait. But like most readymade baits, this one was available to anyone. The result was that he did the baiting and someone else using the same readymade bait benefited by banking the fifty pound carp he had put so much effort into catching. Surely anglers would see the massive lesson in this example?

Some bait companies do obviously keep offering bait formats and bait recipes that seem mainstream and standard to say the least. They may just add extra chilli, or Robin Red, or squid, or betaine, CSL or a new flavour such as Maple Pineapple or whatever currently fashionable extra to provide a new angle on a popular bait. But in general all bait-making individuals are passionately involved in what they do and are dynamically learning all the time, developing their skills and honing their practical knowledge using their customers feedback.

It is the advancement of knowledge and practical developments and improvements in baits of smaller bait companies that have put pressure on the larger companies to improve their baits quality and performance too. For readymade-buying anglers this is a very positive thing because in general it means that in very many cases you can easily have easily as much trust in the smaller companies as the larger ones. In fact in some cases even more because lets face it – not all of the larger company products are their flagship baits (to put it mildly,) and all companies have to compromise to a degree to make profits!

Countless smaller bait companies that I know have really done their homework in sourcing their bait ingredients, flavours and other products used in the production of their own boilies and base mix products ranges. Examples include CW Baits, Newfields Baits, Formula-Carp, Essex Carp Baits, and AA Baits. But there are many more companies that are certainly not ignorant when it comes to bait design and producing baits that can easily match many baits of the kind much larger companies are offering.

You must have noticed the relatively recent appearance of companies such Quest Baits, and Baitcraft. Smart marketing and well-considered promotion is all part of the formula for success in business so credit to them! Ultimate Carp Nutrition and their Enzyme bait is an excellent example of a small company coming up with a very seriously technically proficient bait tested and refined over many years before release to the market. Another bait company on the rise is Vision Baits who to some might appear to have come out of nowhere but in fact have some very experienced people involved in their bait design and product development.

Dynamite Baits have grown and leveraged the fame of Terry Hearn for instance to sell their baits but who can forget the time he used Nash Monster Pursuit baits? Jim Shelley is another good example; how many bait companies has he represented and recommended – it makes your head spin. If you are looking to him for a readymade bait recommendation based on all the companies and readymade baits he has used it must be completely confusing for many anglers! This is a very big reason why obtaining detailed information on making and adapting your own baits is such a huge advantage because you will never be confused about bait in that way ever again – plus your confidence levels in your own baits can surpass 100 percent!

Formula-Carp is another bait company established for some years now that has been more closely associated with match fishing and the supply of live baits such as worms, maggots and casters etc for match fishermen and fishing shop. Last year this company had a completely bona fide concept for a new online discount club for bait buyers along with a competitive match fishing series proposal with big cash prizes guaranteed available literally before any entry tickets were even sold.

As with many things in business it appears that currently dominant commercial interests scuppered this plan. One individual even aired a completely ignorant falsely based discreditation of the new series proposal on a Sky Sports fishing programme, which is a great shame. However the fact is that Formula-Carp have a credible pedigree in carp bait design and products supply and they supply many other bait companies with their ingredients, additives and specialist and customised liquid and powdered components for use in big carp baits and match baits alike.

Specialist Bait supplies is a name many anglers in Essex and the rest of the UK will remember going back to the eighties. This is another smaller bait company with a big reputation. In the eighties when I was using Rod Hutchinson powdered appetite stimulators and so-called Sense Appeals years before the Nash palatants etc of today, I also used powdered palatants and other additives from this company – known to most anglers as sbsbaits of course!

Many anglers since the eighties have realised that using very fast boiled baits or fast-steamed baits and pastes are in a different class to conventionally boiled baits. I still use my old pressure cooker from the eighties. Basically when you boil baits you ruin many forms of nutrition and limit much of the potential activity and attraction and stimulation of baits. In immersing baits in water to boil them you also lose valuable nutrition into the water and also you lose invaluable soluble and volatile substances of the kind that have great impacts on carp senses!

Prematurely hydrating using boiling water is not necessarily a good thing for many reasons, including impacting negatively upon the action of enzymes in additives and ingredients that may have been included and perhaps even reducing naturally developing bioactivity in your baits!

Individual Baits is a newer smaller bait company with a nice twist – producing baits they call steamies. It is a great promotional and marketing gimmick – but this time with a very sound and well-proven basis. I was steaming my baits on the bank in the eighties and using them hot – quite openly for all to see because this edge is not exactly new in carp fishing. I did this in winter or summer too. This kind of boilie preparation method has many benefits and competitive edges so readymade baits like this are certainly advantageous. Why so many commercial bait companies still boil even their hook baits in water is a mystery to me!

In the Anglers Mail this past week there was a piece written about catching your first big carp. One of the gems of advice given was to only get your baits from big bait companies that you can trust. Well of course bigger bait companies have a good track record but guess what – it does not mean you cannot trust smaller companies because after all, the big companies of today were also small too!

Many companies both big and small have many less well-known competitive advantages. For example CC Moore has been an animal feed specialist for 12 generations – and benefit from an enormous wealth of experience in feed formulation and in sourcing top quality ingredients etc from around the world. Part of the original success of Mainline was having strong links with the food industry. I think Solar has connections with aquaculture feed specialists for example, and Nash Baits have their own in-house flavorist.

But remember this; many of the most famous boilies of today and over the decades were not even designed by people running bait companies directly or who were not interested in the commercial side of carp fishing as much as others. What were the true origins of Nutrabaits Big Fish Mix or Hi-Nu-Val and who were the individuals involved and their personal evolutions in designing baits! Dave Moore is obviously a very well known bait guy from the north of England but the roots of certain other mixes can be less than clearly documented and rooted in intrigue.

Many readymade bait formulations and recipes came from individuals who did certainly became well known but what were the individual paths of evolution in terms of bait design knowledge for people such as Geoff Bowers, Rod Hutchinson, Mike Willmott, Malcolm Winkworth, Geoff Kemp, Tony Miles, Kevin Nash, Gary Bayes and Ian Moore and so on? This is a question that I find very interesting indeed!

Carp anglers are always being told to buy quality bait but ironically enough on a genuinely pragmatic levels relatively few anglers really understand how one bait is a better quality than another – or even how quality actually translates into something that is verifiable. For instance does it mean that New Zealand lactalbumin has been used instead of a nutritionally inferior but cheaper alternative source and if so how on earth would you know as a readymade bait buyer anyway? After all baits catch fish for so many individual reasons.

How do you know if a particular grade of soya is used or even what the digestibility of a fish meal used is, when used in conjunction with various other ingredients and additives?

A highly bioactive liquid or powder might be the cornerstone of the success of a readymade bait and the quality and effectiveness of a bait in terms of other additives and ingredients could well be a compromise to make profits. Think about it – what bioactive components are in some of the most well known flavours used in instant attractor baits? Some great flavours may be regarded as health promoters and even as metabolic stimulants among other benefits and effects. Remember that even in small doses, certain substances exert great influence on senses and the function of the body. For example how much psychoactive THC is in hemp used in fishing boilies – and what impact does this have on carp brain chemistry?

You might even argue that quality represents the use of the very freshest eggs in a bait – thus providing the most intact, most potent of nutritional and other factors in egg components. A large number of readymade baits catch many fish but are actually very difficult for carp to digest and actually slow down their metabolism unduly – in winter or even in summer! This is also pretty important to consider. Carp baits have been made by homemade bait makers and readymade bait manufacturers for decades that totally incidentally have had prebiotic and probiotic impacts upon carp digestion yet this is being used as a selling point. The Cc Moore N-Gage is far more than a gimmick however as the catch results of this bait demonstrate.

Ultimately readymade baits are certainly not all alike and baits can function in endless ways that differ compared to others, so comparing and contrasting them in technical terms can be very complex!

So many carp anglers talk about quality of bait without much concept in reality of what this really means. Many still think it is the difference between an bait of lower nutritional value containing higher levels of flavours compared to a balanced protein bait with maybe zero added flavours. But instant attractor baits these days can actually have incredibly effective components that are the opposite of being poor quality!

Nutritional value of bait is merely one aspect an angler might choose to consider if he really knows enough about carp physiology and sensory systems and digestion etc, and enough about bait substances and their effects etc, and the bait making process etc in order to make some kind of informed judgement or comparison between baits

One complaint that I have been told by commercial bait makers is just crazy is that an unbelievable number of carp anglers will spend thousands on their tackle, and then demand the very cheapest bait deal possible – and expect miracles with it.

Many carp anglers seem to want to buy bait just on price – which is crazy! Personally I would prefer to spend 100 pounds on 5 kilograms of the most potent bait I can possibly use instead of 100 pounds for 15 kilograms of bait that I will be very lucky to even get a bite using on pressured carp waters – which is most big fish waters today!

Some of the smaller bait companies offer incredible value for money in terms of the nutritional and other factors their baits offer in terms of potency and attraction etc. Yet far too many anglers just seem to go for a bait that has a currently popular flavour, such as pineapple, maple, or chocolate malt!

Personally I would use flavours that have not been used for at least 7 years or more to ensure that fish have not recently been hooked on such flavours! So do think about baits far beyond fashion and do consider what nutritional and other potencies are really about – as opposed to grabbing the latest new product with a new but previously popular flavour for example.

Not many anglers would think of making a homemade bait that has a green-lipped mussel or Belachan flavour – in fact it is very likely most anglers will go for something like peach, plum, crab or pineapple which to me makes little sense when being different is such a massive advantage when it comes to carp baits!

I know that at least one small bait company has optimised the amino profile of their baits regarding the first to third most limiting amino acids; yet the public are largely ignorant of the huge value this represents in terms of potential success of such baits in the short and long-term! In this case, Phil at CW Baits has access to expert input from the aquaculture feed formulation experts for instance, connected with his pellets and other suppliers for instance. His Supreme readymade bait is the equal of the top flagship baits from very big companies and I say this from practical bait testing comparisons and experiences!

But the majority of Phils potential readymade bait customers do not know about this leading bait. This is because there is a kind of endemic leverage and influence exerted via commercial means to ensure that the smaller or newer bait companies get less exposure in the carp fishing media compared to the big boys! Even a company of the calibre of CC Moore has obviously had to really make great efforts to get noticed and become the far more fashionable brand that they are today!

It seems to be the case that very many anglers choose their baits by simply copying what the glossy adverts or carp magazine articles recommend. Now I am all in favour of the dispersal of quality information that produces the desired catch results for fellow anglers.

I also appreciate that many angling writers are in contracts and are sponsored to the effect that they have to recommend their companys products and ignore other good products which may in fact by just as good or maybe superior. But I do think that to a great degree the way carp baits work differently to others needs to be expressed more in detail so anglers can make a far better informed judgement in choosing their baits. 

It is one thing to say we have added a new strawberry or pineapple flavour, or additional ingredients, but it would be good if anglers actually understood what the benefit if this really and truly is practice. How else can the average angler be expected to maximise his bait performance if he simply does not understand it?

OK I realise that many anglers are instantly bored by the subject of bait and prefer to focus on which high profile angler is saying he is using whatever brand of bait. When anglers start saying things like it is Tutti Fruiti time, it is really hilarious because this means that these guys are totally unaware of how to maximise a massive range of baits for cold-water use. Tutti Fruiti baits are good – but when over-used they can easily blow you know!

As an aside personal tip – why not soak your Tutti Fruiti baits in Richworth Salmon Supreme bait dip plus neat CC Moore Feedstim XP for example, to differentiate them?

It is shocking how many anglers put blind faith in their bait without finding out more about the one purchase that has as much impact on their catches as any piece of tackle on which they pay thousands of pounds! These days countless so-called tackle tarts really get deeply into the specification and performance of their rods, reels and even bite alarms and bivvies and prefer to get the most fashionable top end models available. But do these anglers spend any time whatsoever seriously researching the specification and testing and actual impacts of their baits? Very few anglers even know how to maximise the impacts of their readymade baits – simply soaking their baits in a readymade dip is far from the limitations of this.

It stuns me just how many anglers still use round boilies without a thought about the fact that they tend to travel in more direct lines in water compared to any other shape – and so are very much easier for carp to avoid getting hooked on. Smooth firm round boilies are very easy for carp to avoid getting caught on despite the misleading impression that this shape is very effective today. The fact is that there are more anglers using round baits today than ever before and fishing for by far more big carp than ever before.

The reality is that smooth round baits can be totally out-fished by other shapes and textures of baits – yet in the Anglers Mail last week the advice given to catch your first big carp was to use boilies from around 10 to 14 millimetres in size – referring to the diameter of guess what – round boilies. Barrel and cylinder shaped baits are still round by the way!

Another misconception is that freezer baits are the only baits worth buying. Maybe before a decade ago artificial chemically preserved baits obviously had some factors that could be potentially detrimental to bait performance – and also bait breakdown when immersed in water. These days natural preservatives are being used – and are also available from some bait companies for homemade bait makers.

Preservatives do not necessarily make baits immune to attack from such things as bacteria and yeasts. Undesirable off-flavours and nutritional quality loss can be side effects of preservation long-term but there are some advantages to using preservatives for certain situations. Personally I want my baits to be as bioactive as is potentially possible so I never use preservatives and if I want to drop the pH of my bait (in solution of course) then preserving baits this way is easily done!

Air-drying baits to well over 90 percent dehydration is possible for anyone at home anyway – and you can re-hydrate readymade boilies and hydrate all kinds of pellets and other formats of baits to make them your own unique versions – even more active than the originals straight from the packet! I must emphasise the great value to you of doing this!

I could go into some extremely powerful and unusual ways of improving readymade bait performance so that no matter what bait company you use and whatever the quality of the ingredients they use, you can massively improve bait performance. I have done this with all kinds of baits from cheap 50:50 mixes, to top quality flagship baits from big bait companies such as Richworth, Nutrabaits, Mainline, and even CC Moore. Revealed in my unique readymade bait and homemade bait carp and catfish bait secrets ebooks is far more powerful information – look up my unique website (Baitbigfish) and see my biography below for details of my ebooks deals right now!

By Tim Richardson.

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